Job Title – Mother Extraordinaire. No Experience Necessary

Job Title – Mother
Experience – None necessary.
Duties – Caretaker, nurse, cook, housekeeper, educator, disciplinarian, therapist, security guard, events planner, dot. dot. dot.

*Note- Candidate must possess flexibility similar to the human pretzel lady at the circus, as the above description is subject to change without notice.

image

Let’s face it, kids keep a running tally in their minds of every chore or good deed they’ve ever done – to be used as leverage when they’re campaigning for something.

They all do it.

For shits and giggles, lets closely examine a mothers job description.

In fact, let’s be completely outrageous and pretend the level of acknowledgement bestowed upon her on Mothers Day depends on it.

JOB DESCRIPTION – short version

Incubate alien life for 10 months (40 weeks = 280 days = 10 months) which is likely to cause nausea, vomiting, indigestion, strained and sprained muscles, back pain, hemorrhoids, constipation and weight gain.

This is the EASY part.

Deliver alien offspring – don’t worry, if you can’t manage to push the melon sized package through your peep hole sized opening, because the valiant obstetrician will just cut it out for you.

And quit whining – you have a baby to take care of. This is no longer about you.

First five years at a glance- feed, bathe, dispose of stinky waste products, ensure minions get enough rest or they’ll morph into rabid Gremlins and eat you alive. And oh yeah – keep those adorable little buggers out of harms way.

It’s all on you Mamacita, you’ve been enlisted for a 24/7 special ops assignment that will stretch into the better part of two decades.

Believe it or not, it doesn’t get much better than this. This is the tender era of hopes, dreams and endless cuddles. Embrace it with both hands – these sunny days are numbered.

Ages 5 – 12 The fruit of your loins are becoming more independent. Add education, socialization and extra curricular activities to the above basic needs list and you have a pretty accurate picture of your new job description.

At this critical point you’ll be forced to re-evaluate and adjust goals accordingly. You’ll be comparing your initial expectations set out of sheer blissful ignorance versus the reality of your child’s actual development.

This can be a bitter pill to swallow. A colossal bummer even, as most parents have a certain ideal vision of how they’d imagined their child to be.

Newsflash – Special needs and unique circumstances happen.

If you haven’t read the incredibly witty poem Welcome to Holland written by a parent faced with a special needs child, pause here and take a moment.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welcome_to_Holland#External_links

Ages 12 – 18 The slow painful transition to young adult. The good news is that your brood is now independent in hygiene, dressing and feeding themselves. Although some days this may be highly disputed. Your role becomes supportive- in addition to holding the gavel as wise counsel and disciplinarian, you’re their primary source for nourishment, clean clothes and transportation.

You perfect the art of eating on the run, prioritizing laundry into emergency loads like towels and underwear versus the rest, and that bucket in the laundry room once designated for potty accidents is replaced with a black caldron for panties caught in the red tide.

It’s important to state here that installing an aerosol form of Xanax in your home would not be overkill.

As your child nears the date of their high school graduation you learn to thank God every single day for the little things-

My kid is NOT…

*on drugs
*pregnant with innocent life
*incarcerated
*fighting for his life in the ICU
*runaway or lost
*suicidal
*DEAD

For some, these simple things are suddenly enough. Thoughts of college and it’s importance in the big scheme of things may be shuffled to the back burner.

Again you pause to re-evaluate your once naive parental expectations versus the reality of raising actual free-thinking creatures with intricate brain wiring and complex chemistry.

Ages 18+ The struggle for independence. For a few, the transition is relatively smooth. The honor students and those gifted with superior athletic or artistic talent may not miss a beat diving into this exciting next chapter. For others, it’s the beginning of a long painful journey through a dense cloudy tunnel filled with uncertainty.

You are the parental rock that keeps them focused, encouraged and grounded.

It’s important to remember that a person in crisis cannot always see the forrest through the trees. The stress of chronic crisis often leads to tunnel vision. Life is a game of survival.

That said, common afflictions like chronic anxiety and depression amongst other mental illnesses and special needs blow a dense fog into an already hazy and uncertain forrest. It’s not uncommon for the afflicted to become self absorbed.

Most moms with a special child or situation knowingly waive any hope or expectation of being lifted onto the sacred Mom pedestal every Mother’s Day, simply because it’s not in the cards… and it never was.

The rearing of special offspring requires a delicate yet potent combination of unconditional love, dedication, endurance and often times complete selflessness.

It’s the nature of the beast.

You were given this hand in life because the powers that be – knew you were up to the challenge; you were carefully chosen to participate as a member of the Parental Special Forces.

That’s like regular parenting, except with the grit of a Marine and stamina of a Navy Seal.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the special moms most deserving of exceptional recognition – who are also the least likely to receive it.

Hats off to you… the few and the proud.

May the sun shine on your face today and always.

You’re loved and appreciated more than you will ever know.

Advertisements

1000 Bloggers Writing About Compassion – #1000Speak

On February 20, 2015 One Thousand Voices will be simultaneously blogging for compassion – in an effort called #1000Speak.

image

I’m very excited and proud to be participating in this virtuous effort.

While Extreme Mom is for the most part a humor based forum, I often use my voice to advocate in the areas of mental illness and special needs: Two variables that have influenced my life profoundly and have prompted me to view life with an open mind, in what I often refer to as Fifty Bazillion Shades of Grey.

Herein lies the serious, truthful root to my madness which incidentally keeps me focused and driven.

So no, I’m not giving up chocolate or Facebook for lent – I’m doing THIS.

The intent is to flood the Internet with positive energy through inspirational stories. ❤️

My favorite compassionate links and heart-felt postings from the Extreme Mom archives.

image

Compassion and Depression-
https://extrememom.net/2014/08/13/the-nature-of-depression-my-uniquely-honest-first-hand-perspective/

Compassion and Special Needs –
https://extrememom.net/2013/11/08/marching-to-the-beat-of-a-different-drummer/

https://extrememom.net/2013/07/07/attack-of-the-clothing-tags-sensory-integration-dysfunction/

Compassion and Body Image/Teens-
https://extrememom.net/2014/08/01/i-met-a-girl-with-anorexia-and-she-stole-my-heart/

Compassion and Diversity –
https://extrememom.net/2014/08/14/people-are-like-snowflakes-no-two-are-exactly-alike-dont-be-judgy/

https://extrememom.net/2013/11/27/maria-kang-part-2-oh-no-she-didnt/

 

Marching to the Beat of a Different Drummer

image

As a parent of four young adults- two faced with special life challenges, I’m often presented with rude comments on how I should handle certain situations.

Let me explain and hopefully open your eyes to a corner of the world that you’ve probably never visited.

An exercise in enlightenment, understanding and vast open-mindedness.

Chronological age is not the only indicator of where and what a person should be doing in regards to life’s milestones. This seems obvious, but trust me, it is not.

Many young adults are affected by invisible conditions which prevent them from reaching their full potential and may also make them appear lazy to the rest of the world, putting even more pressure on their already fragile self esteem.

Invisible condition (my definition)- a condition/disorder that is not necessarily obvious to the general public and may not even be detectable in a first hand social interaction with said individual. The person may appear completely normal. However, underlying condition(s) may be absolutely crippling thus preventing this person from being anything from marginally functional to ultimately meeting their full potential.

Examples- ADHD, autistic spectrum disorders, depression, anxiety, bipolar, post traumatic stress disorder, dot. dot. dot.

I live with two excellent examples of said invisible conditions, which in their cases are (at the present time) pretty debilitating. We get through life ONE DAY AT A TIME.

I love my SPECIAL children with all my heart.

image

My children, whom I happen to know are misunderstood by society, certain close friends and family members, whom I will stand up for until my last dying breath and probably continue to protect in the afterlife.

Hell yeah.

It goes something like this-

My 19 year old son has pretty profound ADHD. *Note- There’s the ADHD where you take a pill and <<poof>> life is good, functional and manageable and there’s the ADHD where every waking moment is a challenge. I mention this to make you aware that ADHD is not the same on any two people. It’s a spectrum disorder. Your nephews ADHD may be a completely different animal than my sons ADHD. On a similar note, the higher your chronological age, the higher societies expectations become of you, making coping often more challenging as time passes.

KNOW that, APPRECIATE that and most importantly, RESPECT that.

As it rolled out for my guy, he did not grow out of his ADHD, nor did he learn to completely compensate. Every day is a challenge. He has chosen not to take meds, which at age 19 is his prerogative. My feeling is that he needs to manage his life in a way that feels right for HIM.

It’s a slow steady process in which there is no deadline.

I stand supportive pretty much… forever.

In addition, this same adult-child falls on the autistic spectrum. Aspergers presents an infinite number of social hurdles every single day. Add sensory integration dysfunction- another spectrum type condition and you amplify the same challenges by like ten fold.

Despite starting sensory integration therapy at the young age of five, being in sync with the outside world continues to be an every day struggle. Everybody’s brain is different. One of his major sensory challenges include a struggle with proprioception and spatial relationships- knowing how hard to press the gas/brake pedal in a car or how far to turn the steering wheel.

An example of how ordinary tasks that may almost seem second nature for most, may not in fact be simple for everyone.

This is REAL life stuff.

*For anything and everything related to sensory integration, check out the book “The Out of Sync Child” by Carol Kranowicz. Excellent read. My sister and I actually attended one of her conferences awhile back and she was lucky enough to be chosen to be part of the human sandwich exercise. I think she was the lettuce.. which figures because she’s teeny. I would’ve definitely been like the quarter pound burger.

Anyway, if you’ve absorbed the significance of the above challenges, you will most likely be able to better appreciate that things like driving a car, attending college and working are equivalent to an obstacle course within an obstacle course for some young adults.

On a completely different, but equally significant note, the oldest love of my life is afflicted by severe anxiety and panic attacks. No, we didn’t break her, nor did she ask for this or bring it on herself. She’s smart, beautiful and exceptionally talented, but doesn’t accept or acknowledge any of these things.

The current plan is to chip away at the anxiety, so that we may eventually step up the ladder rung to higher level challenges like college course work, getting a drivers license, maintaining a job and nurturing close relationships.

One step at a time.

This is not the portrait of a lazy person. This is a person who is struggling.

So, when you add your two cents that sounds something like- “You drive them to college??? They need to get jobs!! If you don’t force them to take responsibility they’ll never learn… use TOUGH LOVE or I would never tolerate THAT from adult children blah, blah, blah… ” you most likely have no idea what you’re dealing with and/or how unfitting your unsolicited advice actually is.

Let me say to you, in addition to treating those you love with much needed understanding, compassion and respect, first and foremost and even if it means simply just being there, a parental figure or caregiver must most importantly do no harm.

Let that sink in.

image  image image

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Attack of the Clothing Tags- Sensory Processing Disorder

image

Just a few tidbits about Sensory Processing Disorder that EVERYONE should know-

To children with Sensory Processing Disorder everyday stimuli can be an overwhelming painful attack to their hyper-acute senses.

What blends into the background for you and I, may cause undue stress and discomfort to a person with SPD.

Loud noises, bright lights, certain odors, tastes and food textures, tactile sensations such as clothing tags, or sock seams can cause extreme discomfort that can lead to an explosive reaction or meltdown in those effected by SPD.

Their nervous system is under attack.

Take a moment to review this checklist of sign and symptoms http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/sensory-processing-disorder-checklist.html 

 It’s essential to understand that the child is not deliberately misbehaving.

Discipline is NOT the answer.

Compassion and understanding are.

Being aware of your child’s individual sensitivities and knowing how to best address them is key.

The purpose of this post is to merely educate you that SPD does in fact exist.

It’s REAL and can be extremely distressful.

If your child exhibits any of these signs, your first step is to EDUCATE yourself, so that you can become a well informed advocate who can gently guide them through a world that’s a constant invasion of overwhelming ouchy prickles, deafening sounds and blinding sights.

You, the parent have an imperative role in paving the way for their happy, comfortable and well adjusted existence on this planet.

Take note that not all health care providers and educators have a basic understanding of sensory integration.

In the big scheme of things, SPD is relatively new.

It is up to YOU to be an advocate.

Educate yourself, seek appropriate treatment and pass it on… to other parents, caregivers and educators.

The children THANK YOU!

Favorite resources

http://templegrandin.com/

http://out-of-sync-child.com/

http://sensorysmarts.com/

image imageimageimage

If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers